Saturday’s 2021 Overwatch League slate saw the San Francisco Shock, Toronto Defiant and Boston Uprising pick up wins. Here’s how the action went down:
In a battle of middle-of-the-pack teams, the Toronto Defiant (5-4, 5 points) took a 3-2 series win over the Florida Mayhem (4-5, 5 points). The series went back-and-forth and full of established, veteran starpower, but was ultimately decided by both teams’ newcomers.
Florida DPS Seung-hun “Checkmate” Baek made his league debut in Game 1 on Ilios, where he played Echo well. It couldn’t lead to a win, though, as Toronto expertly defused Florida’s dive to take a 2-1 win. The Mayhem got things back in motion in Game 2 on Hollywood, diving the Defiant’s backline repeatedly in a 2-1 win.
Florida looked strong in Game 3, taking Watchpoint: Gibraltar 3-1 and threatening to close out the series, but Toronto came back with grit on Hanamura. DPS Luka “Aspire” Rolovic was key to the Defiant’s resurgence, playing Tracer well and going toe-to-toe with one of the best DPS players in the league, Florida’s Jun-ki “Yaki” Kim.
The Defiant all but stole a map win on Hanamura, taking the map 3-2 to force a series-deciding Game 5. With the series on the line on Lijiang Tower, Aspire came up big, leading the Defiant to a 2-0 win over the Checkmate-led Mayhem. This win helps Toronto start the Summer Showdown on a strong note, while Florida continues to slide after a lackluster June Joust.
In other Saturday action, the San Francisco Shock (8-2, 8 points) survived an upset scare against the winless London Spitfire (0-10) in a 3-2 series win. The Shock are still trying to adjust to life without recently retired DPS Nam-joo “Striker” Kwon, which was evident in this match. It might take some time for San Francisco to re-find their way, but a match against a surging team desperate for a win in London might’ve kick-started that process.
London started strong with a 2-1 win on Oasis, led by rookie DPS William “SparkR” Andersson, who was called up from the Overwatch Contender’s side British Hurricane and has impressed over his two starts. San Francisco came back with a 3-1 win on Eichenwalde, but London showed signs of life throughout the contest.
The Spitfire took Route 66 2-1, threatening to take the series, but the Shock came up clutch. San Francisco dominated Temple of Anubis 2-1, forcing a series deciding Game 5 on Nepal. Though London would come close, going so far as to take a round, San Francisco prevailed in the clutch, taking Nepal 2-1 to secure the series win.
The Boston Uprising (4-5, 4 points) closed out the day with a 3-1 win over the Vancouver Titans (0-9). Boston started with a 2-0 win on Busan, then Vancouver took Hollywood 2-1, teasing the possibility of a third five-game series. The Uprising were quick to shut that down, though, taking Watchpoint: Gibraltar 2-1 and Hanamura 2-1 to secure the series win.
The OWL teams are competing in three weeks of matches to determine qualification for the Summer Showdown’s double-elimination playoff brackets, which will be contested July 11-18.
The top six teams from the West and the top four teams from the East will make the initial playoff rounds. Two teams from each region will advance to the double-elimination final playoff round.
The Summer Showdown qualifiers continue on Sunday with six matches:
Hangzhou Spark vs. Seoul Dynasty (East)
Chengdu Hunters vs. Guangzhou Charge (East)
New York Excelsior vs. Los Angeles Valiant (East)
Los Angeles Gladiators vs. Paris Eternal (West)
Boston Uprising vs. Florida Mayhem (West)
Toronto Defiant vs. Vancouver Titans (West)
Overwatch League standings by region, with win-loss record, map differential and league points:
1. Dallas Fuel, 5-3, +7, 10
2. San Francisco Shock, 8-2, +13, 8
3. Houston Outlaws, 7-1, +12, 7
4. Los Angeles Gladiators, 7-2, +12, 7
5. Washington Justice, 5-3, +5, 5
6. Toronto Defiant, 5-4, -2, 5
7. Atlanta Reign, 4-4, +5, 5
8. Florida Mayhem, 4-5, -2, 5
9. Boston Uprising, 4-5, -2, 4
10. Paris Eternal, 4-5, -3, 4
11. Vancouver Titans, 0-9, -22, 0
12. London Spitfire, 0-10, -23, 0
1. Shanghai Dragons, 6-2, +9, 11
2. Seoul Dynasty, 7-2, +13, 7
3. Philadelphia Fusion, 6-2, +10, 6
4. Hangzhou Spark, 6-3, +11, 6
5. Chengdu Hunters, 4-5, 0, 4
6. New York Excelsior, 3-6, -7, 3
7. Guangzhou Charge, 3-6, -11, 3
8. Los Angeles Valiant, 0-9, -25, 0
–By Noah Waltzer, Field Level Media